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RE: The New Papers Before Christmas

--- Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>

> I wrote:
> > According to Agnolin, yes. _Brontornis_ is
> regarded as a basal anseriform, along with
> dromornithids and _Diatryma_. _Diatryma_,
> _Brontornis_ and 
> > Dromornithidae come out as successive outgroups
> between Galliformes and Anseres. Phorusrhacids are
> even more basal, outside Galloanseres.


> Actually, phorusrhacids aren't 'even more basal' -
> they just lie outside the Galloanseres (which is
> what I meant to say).  But it is striking how many
> large, heavy and/or flightless birds end up at or
> near the base of the Neornithes. 

Not that surprising considering a) being there at the
right time helps and b) the known giant Galloanseres
were completely allopatric.

as regards b) - they were *not* allopatric (it seems)
with other giant lineages - _Stromera_ and
_Eremopezus_ might be something else, but then there
is _Gargantuavis_. But all these would require a fresh
look upon in the light of this new theory.

It's nothing I would ever have suspected, but it's no
test of faith either. The rather late date (and
evolution in the presence of competing mammals) is
interesting to note though, as is the fact that there
is one and only one truly giant galliform known to
date (_Sylviornis_) - also a rather basal lineage
among these, but evolving in the absence of
competitors, probably not carnivorous, and Subrecent.

_Brontornis platyonyx_ might also be reanalyzed.


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